Earthquake damage to Louisa County schools close to $60M

A car was damaged by the earthquake.

MINERAL, Va. (AP, ABC7) - Louisa County officials say last week's earthquake caused close to $60 million worth of damage to a high school and an elementary school.

The damage to public schools is estimated at $57.5 million, the county said in a news release Tuesday.

School officials are trying to find room so students can start the school year. The high school won't open at all this year. All 1,400 students are moving to the middle school next door, adding mobile classrooms for more capacity.

“It is a lot of upheaval but it is going to work because we have a staff with a can-do attitude,” said Louisa County Schools Superintendent Barbara Pettit.

Middle and high school students will alternate days. High schoolers will attend the shared school Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 to 5, middle school students Tuesday, Thursday and every other Saturday.

“It's not exactly how I wanted to spend my senior year but it's better than being split up and shipped off to different counties,” said Jarrett Talley.

“I don't really like the Saturdays but, as long as I'm getting my education I don't care,” said 8th grader Terri Finley.

All 570 students of also damaged Thomas Jefferson Elementary School will be moved to Travilians Elementary 20 minutes away. Furniture and files have been put into storage units.

Officials told a joint meeting of the School Board and county Board of Supervisors on Monday that it's unclear whether Louisa County High School and Thomas Jefferson Elementary School can be repaired or if they'll need to be replaced. The two schools won't reopen for the rest of the school year, and their students are attending schools in other buildings and classrooms.

The Daily Progress reports that Louisa County fire and rescue chief Scott Keim said at the meeting that damage to school buildings was at least $7 million above the schools' insurance cap. He said estimated damage totals would climb in the coming weeks as assessments are finished.

As chaotic as things may be when schools re-open September 12th, the priority is getting students back into a routine.

“It might work for a little while, as long as it's just temporary,” said parent Gina Fillingame.

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